By ED BARK
The new NBC dramedy Lipstick Jungle, armed with episodes completed before the writers' strike, will join the Peacock's prime-time lineup on Feb. 7th, supplanting ER on Thursday nights.
Adapted from the same-novel by Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell, Lipstick co-stars Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price as "three high-powered friends" braving the upper crust pitfalls of Manhattan.
ABC's strikingly similar Cashmere Mafia, originally set to premiere on Nov. 27th before being pulled from the schedule, spotlights a quartet of high-powered gal pals operating out of New York City. Its executive producer, Darren Star, also was one of the architects of Sex and the City. And they say there are no new ideas out there.
***Corbin Bernsen, who once swaggered through L.A. Law as self-absorbed divorce attorney Arnie Becker, has downsized himself to game show host. He'll be the quizmaster on GSN's new How Much Is Enough?, set to premiere on Jan. 8th.
"I have always been a big fan of game shows and I have been tuning into GSN for years," Bernsen says gamely.
***Strike talks are off for now, but scheduled to resume Tuesday (Dec. 4) after a "New Economic Partnership" proposal by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers received an initially cool reception from the Writers Guild of America.
"It amounts to a massive rollback," the Guild said in a letter to its membership. Nonetheless they'll study it.
The AMPTP says the proposal "includes groundbreaking moves in several areas of new media" and would be worth an additional $130 million in compensation to the writers.
***NBC's new version of American Gladiators, to be co-hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, gets a two-hour sneak preview on Sunday, Jan. 6th before moving the following night to its regular Monday, 7 p.m. central slot. It will replace the new series Chuck, which has received a full-season order from NBC but will have run out of episodes written before the strike.
***The next Miss Universe pageant, owned by Donald Trump, will originate from -- ta da -- Vietnam.
Miss Universe Organization president Paula M. Shugart says that Vietnam "has shown unprecedented growth in recent years, both in the business and tourism sectors. This worldwide telecast will mark the first event of its kind to be centered in Vietnam, which of course will have special significance to the U.S. audience."
Maybe by 2050 we'll be ready for Iraq as host.
By ED BARK
The ongoing writers' strike hasn't deterred NBC from granting full-season pickups to two worthy recipients.
Freshman series Chuck and Life each are getting nine more episodes, bringing their totals to full-season runs of 22. That's assuming that the strike will be resolved in time to get those hours into production and on the air this season.
Peacock entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman says Life and Chuck "stand out in a crowded TV landscape because they are smart, well-produced series with incredibly talented casts. Both shows are hitting their stride creatively."
Neither is a hit yet, but both are in tough time slots. Chuck has gone against ABC's Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights while Life is scheduled opposite CBS' CSI: NY. Audiences especially have held steady for Life, which has been showing slow growth in recent weeks.
***The CW's America's Next Top Model will change a judge in its 10th "cycle," supplanting Twiggy with Paulina Porzikova.
PP appeared on ABC's Dancing with the Stars earlier this year, but became a first-round evictee. The evictees roll down hill, though, in this case to CW. Fellow first-round punchout Kenny Mayne of ESPN ended up hosting ABC's barely seen Fast Cars & Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race before resurfacing on Dancing this season as a mock commentator.
By ED BARK
Canceled by his predecessor but quickly resurrected by new NBC entertainment president Ben Silverman, The Apprentice will be back in business on Jan. 3rd with an alleged celebrity version.
Host Donald Trump of course says the seventh edition of the show will be "the most exciting season yet -- maybe even better than Season One."
Yawn, 14 participants will play for their favorite charity, which is the only upside. The winner gets to present a $250,000 check to his or her worthy cause.
Competitors include previous Apprentice bad girl Omarosa and former Sopranos second banana Vincent Pastore, who earlier this year crapped out on ABC's Dancing with the Stars after deciding he couldn't withstand the regimen.
They'll be joined by Trace Adkins, Carol Alt, Stephen Baldwin, Nadia Comaneci, Tiffany Fallon, Jennie Finch, Nely Galan, Marilu Henner, Lennox Lewis, Piers Morgan, Tito Ortiz and Gene Simmons. Anyone who can identify each of their claims to fame is an Einstein of piffle.
The celebrity edition's Thursday, 8 p.m. (central) slot signals of a breakup of NBC's comedy night. The Peacock hasn't announced yet which comedies will be relocated among a quartet of My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office and Scrubs.
By ED BARK
Slushy Barky urges you to check this list, check it twice when in search of traditional and/or notable broadcast network Christmas specials. They'll be coming at you soon. All times listed are central.
Nov. 27 -- A Charlie Brown Christmas, 7 p.m. on ABC. Repeated at the same time on Dec. 3rd.
Nov. 28 -- Shrek the Halls, 7 p.m. on ABC. Repeated at the same time on Dec. 11th. Also on ABC: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1 -- The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, 7 p.m. on NBC.
Dec. 4 -- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 7 p.m. on CBS. Also appearing: Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, 7 p.m. on ABC.
Dec. 7 -- Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns, 7 p.m. on CBS.
Dec. 10 -- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, 7 p.m. on ABC.
Dec. 11 -- Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too!, 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
Dec. 13 -- 30 Rock's LudaChristmas Party (with guests Elaine Stritch, Andy Richter, Buck Henry, Anita Gillette), 7:30 p.m. on NBC.
Dec. 14 -- It's A Wonderful Life, 7 p.m. on NBC. Repeated at the same time on Christmas Eve.
Dec. 21 -- 9th Annual A Home for the Holidays, with Sheryl Crow, 7 p.m. on CBS.
Dec. 23 -- Elmo's Christmas Countdown, 6 p.m. on ABC.
Dec. 25 -- Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, 9 a.m. on ABC.
By ED BARK
FX cable's acclaimed Damages will be back -- not just for one more season but for a third as well.
The network announced the two-ply renewal Monday, with stars Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan all signed on for at least the second season. FX has committed to 26 episodes, although the ongoing writers' strike puts production on indefinite hold. FX tentatively hopes to start work on Season 2 early next year in New York.
The 13-episode drama ended its first season on Oct. 23rd by wrapping up its main murder mystery but setting up a clash between scheming Manhattan mega-attorney Patty Hewes (Close) and her now undercover protege, Ellen Parsons (Byrne). Ratings were sub-par for FX, with 2.5 million viewers per episode and 1.1 million in the advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-old demographic.
Reviews were mostly raves, though, so FX found a way to do the deal. Bravo.
FX now has six drama series in its arsenal, with The Shield, Rescue Me, Dirt and The Riches all slated to return while Nip/Tuck recently began its fifth season.
By ED BARK
Dennis Miller has landed both his old Monday Night Football booth mate and another prime-time game show.
The acerbic comedian/commentator, whose opinions have tilted well to the right in recent years, will have fellow conservatives Al Michaels and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as guests on the first edition of Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller. The weekly one-hour program premieres Tuesday, Nov. 6th at 9 p.m. (central) on the Versus cable network.
"I'll call 'em as I see 'em," says Miller.
NBC also announced Thursday that Miller has been named to host the new "comedy quiz show" Amne$ia. It's from reality maestro Mark Burnett (Survivor, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?), and is seen as another effort by the broadcast networks to protect themselves with unscripted reality programming in the event of a writers' strike.
"I immediately realized it's a comedy first that just happens to be wrapped in a game show package," says Miller. "And that allows me to be who I am."
***ABC has ordered a full season of its new comedy Samantha Who?, starring Christina Applegate as -- an amnesiac.
It's the third ABC newcomer to get a pickup, following Private Practice and Pushing Daisies.
***Dallas native and former Prison Break co-star Lane Garrison has been sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, driving under the influence of alcohol and furnishing alcohol to a minor. He was the driver in a December accident in California that killed a 17-year-old passenger.
Garrison, 27, played con artist David "Tweener" Apolskis, whose character was killed off early last season.